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Rugrats in Paris: The Movie is a Cinematic Reset

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Back in the olden days of my childhood, the greatest friendship I had was with the collection of VHS tapes containing my favorite films. I could spend hours in front of the TV, laughing at the same scenes over and over again and never growing bored. It’s been quite a trip to watch the rise of online streaming services, where almost everything I want to watch is merely a click (and a subscription) away. I didn’t even realize how much time had passed, until the collection of VHS tapes in my room was gone. I think the one that I miss the most was a distinctly orange-colored tape containing a small arthouse filmーa think-piece of sorts, if you willーset in Paris. Despite it being way too complicated for me to comprehend at such a young age, I still loved it to death. I must confess that cinema peaked on November 5th in the year 2000 when Rugrats in Paris: The Movie was released. 

When asked about my childhood throwbacks, I talk about Rugrats in Paris as if I were on some kind of payroll; as if the characters themselves were my old pals. Truth be told, when I was younger, the characters I saw on screen felt like friends. One of the things that amaze me the most about this film is how much I have rewatched it over the years (it’s on Netflix, no need to google it). Can we talk about the first scene? While the adults celebrate a wedding, the main characters are off talking business; Angelica Pickles had just recently watched The Godfather without permission from her parents ,and she goes on to tell a group of toddlers that she can grant wishes. Going by the name “Bobfather”, she gives the best performance of her career. If that isn’t the greatest opening sequence of all time, I don’t know what is. 

Early on in the plot, most of the young children are dancing with their mothers. Upon seeing this, Chuckie (one of the Rugrats) realizes what he wants to wish for. He tells Angelica that he wishes to have a mother; due to him feeling left out while watching the rest of his friends. Let me tell you, when I watched this film as a kid, I didn’t even process that the plot centered around Chuckie wanting to have a maternal presence in his life. This is one of the reasons that I find rewatching media that we consider to be our childhood throwbacks so important. Through colorful aesthetics and wacky situations, the movie depicts the grief of missing someone in your life even if you don’t have a sharp memory of themーmissing their love, their hugs, their sweet words and wishing you could feel that all over again.

Chuckie Finster Nicksplat GIF by NickRewind - Find & Share on GIPHY
Nickelodeon Animation Studios via GIPHY

Some people are quick to write off content that is created for a younger target audience as ‘silly’, or ‘not that deep’ but we tend to forget that people experience feelings throughout their entire lives, and that’s not something that comes with age. We grow a better understanding of ourselves as we get older, but not even childhood can save us from interactions with sadness, loneliness and grief. We might not grasp the concepts entirely, but we certainly go through them in our own way, regardless. Films like Rugrats in Paris offer lighthearted fun; laughs that surpass the test of time. This movie was also meaningful in the way that it thoughtfully represented Chuckie’s struggles with wanting a mother and his friends supporting how he felt. They even crashed a wedding just so Chuckie’s dad wouldn’t marry a mean woman that would become the stepmother of their friend. Now that is what I call having a fantastic support group.

I need to talk about the iconic antihero of this cinematic adventure that set the wedding in motion in the first place: a sassy three-year-old that walked so others could run. Yep, I am once again talking about Angelica Pickles. Angelica views herself as superior to the Rugrats simply because she is older, and this age advantage gives her a sense of importance. The second the antagonist promises this girl her own parade, she spilled all the tea with no remorse and I have to admire her for that. She knew that Chuckie would get an evil stepmother that only wanted to marry his father in order to secure a job promotion, but Angelica did not care one bit. She was getting her Macy’s Day Parade moment, so everything else was completely irrelevant. Angelica ultimately comes to regret her decision of giving out information on Chuckie’s dad. This only occurs after she realizes that her promised parade was a lie. However, I have yet to see character development as flawless as this. She helps the Rugrats, Chuckie gets a great stepmom, and the story ends with a happily ever after, so let’s go easy on this girl boss in the making. 

Driving Angelica Pickles GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Nickelodeon Animation Studios via GIPHY

I must confess that I almost fainted when I realized that this film will soon turn 21 years old. I can still remember the orange VHS tape that is no longer at my reach. I can still remember sitting down with my siblings and forcing everyone to watch it with me again and again…The best thing about films like this one is that they will forever remain the same; unchanging. And thus, when nostalgia kicks in, we can always just revisit our childhood and press play on the movie. While you watch it, your worries go on pause for a while and you’re a kid again, watching the world unfold with excitement and eagerness to learn more. Although this experience is not permanent, there is a certain beauty to be found in fleeting moments where we can reminisce about our growth, where we contemplate the rapid pace of time and how it slips from our fingers. Rugrats in Paris serves as a friendly reminder that we were kids too, and a part of us will always carry that magical sense of wonder that these characters have. 

Elisabet Ramírez is an Education in English major, with a minor in Acting. An artist at heart, she enjoys writing short stories, comedy routines and scripts. You can always find her typing furiously in the notes app on her phone or learning the dialogue from movie scenes by heart.
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